Our backyard is fenced in by coniferous trees (Thuja). Sadly enough, a few of them have died, and I want to remove them and replace them with a fence.

The problem however, is that these trees grow their roots deep into the ground. I could try pulling them out with a wench or heavy duty machinery, but is there also a simpler method? Removal time is not an issue.

  • "Removal time is not an issue." So... Wait until it rots away? ;) Dec 11, 2014 at 15:17
  • Yeah... I think you know what I meant there right? Dec 11, 2014 at 15:18
  • 8
    I don't know what kind of answer you'll get here, but you might have a better time asking this question over at gardening.stackexchange.com. Being on-topic on another site does not mean that it's off-topic here, but I think you stand a chance of getting a better answer there.
    – Shokhet
    Dec 11, 2014 at 15:18
  • @Shokhet Couldn't have said it better myself. :)
    – Mooseman
    Dec 11, 2014 at 15:31
  • Uhm... Im gonna do that, but since we are in beta, is it good practice to keep the question here for reference during the beta? Or should I just go ahead and delete it? Or should I ask this question in meta? Dec 11, 2014 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


My personal experience and I have not found a simple way

I used to be some sort of teenage lumber jack(not kidding) and removing trees was the easy part, but the stump was the real pain. The trick is first kill the stump:

  1. I used a Husqvarna 450 to cut the tree down and into pieces. A 450(I think that is what it used) and larger models may be tough for you to use if you are of smaller stature(the guy that really handled it well was about 6 feet so you get the picture).
  2. Now that you have a stump we would leave this for a while to rot away and become softer. But depending on your time limit there are 2 courses of action:
    • Wait and let it rot and then pick away at it with a pickaxe(the one I used mostly had a 8 pound head). To assist it in rotting you may use chemicals. From thisoldhouse.com:

There are several chemicals available at garden centers that will hasten the rotting of a tree stump. This basically involves drilling a series of holes in the stump and adding the chemicals.

  • Take the chainsaw and cut the stump around the roots. This loosens the stump now take a pickup truck or something(animals may work to) and begin to pull the stump up. Do this slowly and as the stump comes up use the chainsaw or a saw to cut the roots as they come. Make sure you brush the roots off though, because dirt can be disastrous to a chainsaw. You may want to wait a while(couple of weeks) for this method to get the best results.

From thisoldhouse.com

Use a fire ring: Fire rings are inexpensive and can burn the stump down if you tend the fire well enough. Fire only burns the surface of the root.

Fire: People sometimes use scrap wood to start a fire on top of a stump and keep it going until the stump is gone. This is a great idea if you have a few stumps to remove, have scrap wood you want to get rid of and want to keep warm for the weekend. Remember to check with local officials on the time of year when you're allowed to burn in your area.

And this method. It is not really a Lifehack, but to remove your stumps you may opt for this:

Backhoe/skidsteer Sometimes if stumps are in planting areas we will pull them with a backhoe. This is the costliest way to remove stumps, although the expense can be kept to a minimum if you have a lot of stumps to do and a place to bury them on site. Burying eliminates the cost of hauling stumps away and disposing of them off-site. Bear in mind that it is inadvisable to bury stumps in a wetlands area, and remember too that no matter where you bury a stump, the area is going to settle sooner or later. Of course, having a backhoe on your property does create a large mess, so I usually only do this on new, large construction areas. Small- to medium-size stumps can be removed quickly with a skidsteer machine. A bucket with teeth or the pallet fork attachment will pop the stump out, which you can then gather in the bucket and bury on site. Skidsteers are available for rent, but backhoes usually are not.

And the Stump Grinder:

Stump grinder: This is a machine that literally chews up stumps 6 to 12 inches below ground level. A set of carbide teeth makes quick work of small- to medium- size stumps; large ones will take a little time. I remove all the grindings to the compost pile and fill the craters with loam. If you enjoy running such equipment, these machines are available at rental houses. If machinery is not your thing, or you only have one or two stumps to do, many arborists have stump grinders and will do the grinding on a per-stump-inch price basis. If you have many stumps to get rid of, a stump grinder is the most economical way to go. Make sure you get complete instructions on how to operate the machinery and wear appropriate safety equipment.

Additional Info

Natural ways to remove the stump


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